PRAY WITH POWER: CULTIVATING THE RIGHT ATTITUDE OF PRAYER

HERE IS A SUMMARY OF THE MESSAGE SHARED ON SUNDAY, OCTOBER 7, IN OUR MORNING SERVICE ON “THE KIND OF PRAYER THAT GOD PAYS ATTENTION TO.”

Matthew 6:5-13. (THE PATTERN PRAYER, OFTEN CALLED, “THE LORD’S PRAYER”)

Matthew takes us on quite a profound journey. He record Jesus’ prayer, which serves to change our whole perspective on prayer.of Jesus’ sermon on the mount. But before Jesus engaged the content of the prayer His major

point was that prayer that will be effective really begins with a RIGHT it had ATTITUDE; it is an inner posture.

We are first defeated in prayer efforts if our attitude is wrong. More than the content of the prayer, the pattern prayer instructs us on the Attitude we should have as we approach God:

1. UNDERSTANDING/ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF WHO GOD IS (Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name). He is Father and He is in a class by Himself (hallowed). This means that He can be trusted. When we know this we are better able to approach Him with a heart that completely trusts.

2. SURRENDER (Thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven). God’s kingdom is his rule – His rightful claim to our lives and our complete relinquishing of our desires for his will. A life that is unwilling and unprepared to accept God’s rule and  claim to it is a life that is also unprepared for God to be made manifest in it. Surrendering says to God, I am ready for you to manifest yourself in my and in my situation and when God does, we SEE it because it was NOT our will we were anticipating but God’s.

3. TOTAL TRUST (Give us this day our daily bread). A heart that trusts God with even the mundane things. Daily reliance on Him. Israel was tested this way in the wilderness with manna that they were to gather daily (to demonstrate trust that God will provide for tomorrow) and they failed miserably. We must be totally reliant upon him as we approach; not planning how in our own might we can solve our own issues.

4. ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF WHO I AM: (And forgive us our trespasses). In approaching God in prayer, we must be honest with ourselves before God; willing to acknowledge our faults and to turn from them. So often humble ourselves; we pray; we seek His face but we never quite get to turning around (2 Chronicles 7:14). God requires truth from us; in our inward parts. Honesty IS the best policy even with God.

5. WILLINGNESS TO RELEASE OTHERS (BURDENS) (As we forgive those who trespass against us). If we are going to stand boldly and honest before God in prayer, we have to be willing to release persons that we do not forgive. If we regard iniquity in our hearts (our prayer will be hindered) the Lord will not hear us. Moreover, we often walk around with burdens asking God for strength to carry them when God has offered us the facility of casting ALL of those upon Him.

CULTIVATING THE RIGHT ATTITUDE AS WE APPROACH PRAYER IS THE FIRST AND MOST CRUCIAL STEP TO PRAYER THAT IS IMPACTFUL. DO YOU HAVE THE RIGHT ATTITUDE IN PRAYER?

Advertisements

Coping with Worry & Depression: What Does the Bible Say? Part 2

Day Four

Can worry alter our circumstances or change our lives for the better?

Luke 12:22-31
Then He said to His disciples, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on…..For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.”

Jesus’ point is clear: Worry accomplishes nothing. It cannot supply the very least of our needs or wants, so we should strive to eliminate it from our thinking. Our energy is much better spent focusing on God’s way of life (which has real, tangible benefits) and soon-coming Kingdom (which will ultimately satisfy our most deeply felt needs).

So if there is nothing to be gained from worrying and anxiety, how does it really affect our lives? Proverbs 12:25: Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad.

Anxious feelings that are not properly dealt with cause us to have the unhappy and disheartened feelings associated with depression. In contrast, focusing on good and positive things makes us glad and cheerful.

 

Day Five

What should we focus on?

Proverbs 15:13 states: A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.

The Bible uses the term heart to describe the innermost source of all that we think and do. Focusing on positive things leads to a heart filled with optimism and confidence, while focusing on worry only fills the heart with pessimism and uncertainty.

Jeremiah 17:5-8: Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the Lord……”Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.”

Proverbs 3:5-6Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Worry and anxiety are often the result of our being overly focused on our physical capabilities and limitations—what we or others can do humanly—rather than on the awesome and limitless capabilities of God, and what He can do for us and through us.

Day Six

When I am faced with tremendous worry I must admit that it is hard not to but that is when I rely on myself, but when I trust God, He helps me believe me, and encourages me through His Word. Some of the stories that do this are:

David in Psalm 34:4-6- I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.Even though David suffered severe anxiety at times, he kept learning and relearning that trusting in God to provide for his needs and deliver him from difficulties would resolve his problems. No matter how big the problem is, God can solve it (Psalm 40:1-2).

Paul in 2 Corinthians 1:8-10- For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us…Paul understood that God is the only true source of help. Paul faced many anxiety-inducing situations in his ministry and travels, but consistently trusted that God would provide deliverance from these situations that were beyond human control.

And the story of Jesus in Matthew 26:37-39- And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.” He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”

When He experienced tremendous anxiety over what He was about to suffer during His trial and crucifixion, Jesus wholly committed Himself to the will of God. He knew that the direction God had set for His life would ultimately produce the best possible outcome. Even if suffering had to be endured for a time, He trusted that it was a necessary but brief step on the path to a permanent, glorious future.

 

 Day Seven

Instead of worrying, the Bible tells us to spend our time praying. If we prayed as much as we worried, each one of us would have a whole lot less to worry about. Most times we confuse planning for tomorrow to worrying about tomorrow. Planning for tomorrow is time well spent however worrying about tomorrow is time wasted. Careful planning is thinking ahead about our goals, steps and schedules trusting in God’s guidance. This gives us confidence in God and in the process helps alleviate worry. Whereas when we worry, it is consumed by fear making it difficult for us to trust God wholeheartedly.

Is God interested in all our daily problems and things that concerns us? Yes. He’s interested in every detail of our lives. That means we can take any problem we have to Him without hesitation!

Whenever we pray, we should always pray with thanksgiving. The healthiest human emotion is not love but gratitude, it actually increases our immunities. It makes us more resistant to stress and less susceptible to illness. People who are grateful are happy people. But people who are ungrateful are miserable because nothing makes them happy. They’re never satisfied. It’s never good enough. So if we cultivate the attitude of gratitude of being thankful in everything, it will reduce stress in our lives.

What is the result of not worrying, praying about everything, giving thanks, and focusing on the right things? Paul says in Philippians 4:7 we will then “experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard our hearts and minds as we live in Christ Jesus.”  Wow!  He is guaranteeing us peace of mind? Do you realize this is exactly what everyone seems to be looking for? We’ve got it right here. So like “The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help”.–1 Timothy 5:5; just “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you”.–1 Peter 5:7; “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall”.–Psalm 55:22

Coping With Worry & Depression: What Does the Bible Say!? PART 1

Image

Day One

 

What Does the Bible Say About Dealing With Worry?

 

Life’s daily challenges and troubles very commonly lead to feelings of worry. However, the Bible provides very effective tools for avoiding worries as well as responding to these emotions when they occur. This week’s devotion will focus on worry and how we deal with it from a biblical perspective. Worrying often simply means that you are anxious, apprehensive, troubled or fearful. These emotions are very common—we all face them from time to time. Thankfully though, the Bible contains the keys to successfully dealing with these types of feelings. What does God want us to do when we face these challenging thoughts?

 

Proverbs 29:25 says:“The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe. There is a right and healthy fear of physical and spiritual dangers that keeps us safe. But when our minds focus on improper fear (being fretful or frightened) of physical things rather than proper fear (reverence and awe) of God, worry is the sure result. Likewise, allowing our minds to focus on doubts and uncertainties will fill us with anxious care. As 1 John 4:18 says, “Fear involves torment.”

 

Worrying consumes huge amounts of time and energy that are totally unprofitable. We often realize too late that we will never receive tangible benefits in return for effort spent worrying. Anxiety cannot correct a past mistake, prevent a future calamity or supply us with anything that we don’t already have. James Russell Lowell said, “Let us be of good cheer, remembering that the misfortunes hardest to bear are those which will never happen.” As you explore the Bible, you will find that God wants you to experience the tremendous joys of life as He created it, without the detrimental effects of anxiety.

 

 

 

Day Two

 

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Phil 4:4-7

 

In these verses, God gives us several commands:  Always rejoice.  Be reasonable.  Never worry.  Come to God with your requests about everything.

 

Why would God give us such extreme commands?  It is easy to look at these verses and think “that’s not what God really expected!  It can’t apply to me… that’s impossible!” At times in my life, I can look at those commands and become discouraged. Our hearts is prone to worry about so many things… various health complications, stress at work, finances, the “unknown” in my future, etc.  I often find it easier to complain rather than to rejoice.  My thoughts are often not reasonable.  I forget to come to God in prayer.

 

Today was one of those days for me.  I woke up worried about everything.  My heart immediately welled up in fear.  “God, this doesn’t make sense… why is this happening? Won’t you step in and fix this?”  On and on the cycle goes… and I quickly find my heart overwhelmed at my circumstances and discouraged because I’m not obeying these commands to not worry and to come to God in prayer.

 

I’m grateful that these “impossible” promises are surrounded by amazing promises of God.  I’m not merely commanded to rejoice in the middle of hard circumstances just because; I am commanded to rejoice because I remember that my God is near.  I’m not commanded to just “buck up” and deal with my anxious heart; I’m commanded to do that remembering that God welcomes me to come to Him in my need.  He wants to give me peace. He wants to guard my heart.  That’s why I don’t have to fear, complain or worry… my God is near and He cares!

 

 

 

Day Three

 

Worrying seems to be a trait common to those who like structure and predictability.  I confess I worry until I can bring my troubles to the Lord, but I didn’t realize that my worrying was actually a demonstration of my lack of trust.  Then Proverbs 19:3 caught my eye during my daily Bible reading:

 

“The foolishness of man perverteth his way:  and his heart fretteth against the Lord.”  Proverbs 19:3

 

The word fretting means agitated from worrying.  We all worry, but fretting seems so much more intense and longer lasting. We can liken fretting with a dog chewing a bone.  He gnaws and gnaws and gnaws but seems to accomplish very little in breaking down a good strong bone.  Fretting accomplishes nothing worthwhile.

 

Unconsciously seeking a way around what God is doing, fretting signals a desire to wrest control from the Almighty.  It is as if we are saying to Him, “step aside, I can do better.”  Fretting reveals our ignorance of God’s just nature and righteous character.   (Acts 3:13-14, 1 John 2:1).

 

Playing the “what if” game leads to reactions ranging from mild fear to total terror.  The Apostle Paul understood fear.  Think about how many times he entered into a city wondering if his testimony of Jesus would lead to beatings, stoning, and imprisonment.  Yet despite his sufferings, he refused to give in to fear.  His secret is found in Philippians 4:7:“The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”